New opposition leader may overturn Ontario’s cannabis monopoly

The new leader of Ontario’s opposition party, the Progressive Conservatives, will consider giving the free market a greater role in recreational marijuana sales if he wins the June 7 provincial election.

Such a move would be a major boon for entrepreneurs in the industry.

The ruling Liberals have committed to opening 40 government-run retail outlets by the time cash registers ring in the first recreational marijuana sales late this summer, leaving no room for privately owned businesses.

Doug Ford became the PC leader over the weekend and will lead the party’s effort to unseat unpopular Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Ford told CBC News that he’s “open to a fair market and letting the markets dictate” cannabis sales.

“I’m open to a free market,” he continued.

“I don’t believe in the government sticking their hands in our lives all the time.”

Ford plans to consult party members.

Industry experts have long feared Ontario’s current plan could make it harder for the province to carve out meaningful market share from the black market after legalization.

Polls currently have Ford favored to win the election.

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